palacesongswestpalmfront

A retrospective journey through the ever-evolving world of Will Oldham – spanning the lo-fi, acoustic Palace recordings of the early 90s, to the polished country/folk of the very prolific Bonnie “Prince” Billy.

Palace :: A Retrospective
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy :: A Retrospective

david bowie at rest

Our weekly two hour show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35, can be heard twice every Friday – Noon EST with an encore broadcast at Midnight EST.

SIRIUS 350: Jean Michel Bernard – Générique Stephane ++ The Fall – Frenz ++ Josef K – Pleasant Heart ++ Ought – Pleasant Heart ++ Girls Names – A Second Skin ++ Modern Vices – Keep Me Under Your Arms ++ The Jesus And Mary Chain – Some Candy Talking ++ Mission Of Burma – New Disco ++ Wire – Ex Lion Tamer ++ Parquet Courts – Borrowed Time ++ The Smiths – What Difference Does It Make? (Hatful of Hollow mix) ++ Deerhunter – Desire Lines ++ David Bowie – TVC15 ++ Televison Personalities – Part Time Punks ++ The Raincoats – Lola ++ Jonathan Rado – Valentine’s Day (Paul McCartney) ++ Ty Segall – Goodbye Bread ++ White Fence – Anger! Who Keeps You Under ++ The Olivia Tremor Control – California Demise, Pt. 3 ++ Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Stick Figures In Love ++ Cate Le Bon – Sisters ++ Women – Black Rice ++ Here We Go Magic – Tunnelvision ++ Trailer Trash Tracys – Candy Girl (Demo Version) ++ The Jesus And Mary Chain – Teenage Lust ++ Beach Fossils – Time ++ Courtney Barnett – Lance Jr. ++ Atlas Sound – Walk A Thin Line (Fleetwood Mac) ++ Twin Peaks – Stand In The Sand ++ Times New Viking – Teen Drama ++ Guided By Voices – Titus And Strident Wet Nurse ++ Pavement – Unfair ++ Silver Jews – People ++ Pavement – Zurich Is Stained ++ Blur – Coffee And TV

*You can listen, for free, online with the SIRIUS three day trial — just submit an email address and they will send you a password.
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gtmooreggae

In an October 2010 issue of The Believer, I made passing reference to GT Moore and the Reggae Guitars, as the band Moore rather weirdly left Heron to pursue. However, Moore’s sophomore crew did go on to draw a large enough following on the pub rock circuit to see them through to the onset of punk. And unlike Heron they seem to have toured extensively during this time, opening shows for the likes of Jimmy Cliff, Thin Lizzy, and Dr Feelgood. As mentioned in the Heron article (albeit dismissively in a footnote), they also happened to draw a reggae groove out of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” well before Clapton got there. All right, they could be seen as the simply first in a long line of dubious white boy reggae outfits…but every time I listen to “Move It On Up”, I want to overlook all that. As the band smolders into a late-night, barnstormy funk/rock/reggae amalgam, I want to apologize for reducing them to a footnote in the already wispy history of Heron. For six whole minutes, I want to point and say: listen, here were the original White Men in Hammersmith Palais, the real Regatta De Blanc. Respect.’ words / dk o’hara

GT Moore And The Reggae Guitars :: Move It On Up

roger miller

Diversions, a recurring feature on Aquarium Drunkard, catches up with our favorite artists as they wax on subjects other than recording and performing.

As the guitarist for post punk legends Mission of Burma, Roger Miller has played in some pretty crazy locales over the years, but he has never before boarded an airplane intent on playing in a divided country balancing the tensions behind a potential outbreak of civil war. What had before been an expected week of exciting performances with Alloy Orchestra (in which Miller plays keyboards) was now filled with curiosity as to how the people of the Ukraine were reacting to these developments, and what would it mean for the band and the concerts? There was only one way to find out, so he took his seat on the plane to Kiev and wondered what lay ahead…

Tuesday June 24:

Leaving Boston at 8:45pm, we were bounced up to Business Class at no extra charge: that was a definite bonus. Notice the expansive leg-room? After a pasta dinner with wild-caught mushrooms (probably grown on the lush organic gardens of Lufthansa’s rear airplane wings), slept almost the entire flight in my seat’s “Sleep Mode” position. Bodes well for the 7-hour time-change adaption to Kiev. Jimmy (Mission of Burma’s Tour Manager), if you’re reading this, get us a free upgrade up to Business Class when Burma heads out to the West Coast in August: I know you can do it….

Wednesday June 25:

Arrived zonky in Kiev.  Amazingly easy Customs – they looked at our passports, at our faces, and let us right in.  Didn’t ask us a single question.  More like entering a high school than a country in the middle of a crisis. Anna, our Ukrainian hostess from last year met us outside.  She works for the U.S. Embassy, which is the organization that brings us here (your U.S. Tax dollars at work!).  We were glad to see each other again, and off we were whisked into a van.

We unloaded our gear at the venue for tomorrow’s show: a huge old arsenal turned into a Ukrainian avant-garde gallery/show-space.  Cool.  Then to the Intercontinental Hotel (same as last year) – good rooms, good English spoken, everyone charming and eager to help us.  After settling in we had a classic Ukrainian dinner in a local tent-restaurant: a bit kitschy, but great.  Beef Stroganoff please with various pickles and Borscht, please.  No reason to complain (except for the mild lager beer).

tony

Tony Joe White turns 71 today – a good excuse as any to put on one of his many excellent platters. I recommend 1971’s self-titled Tony Joe White. Cut at Sounds of Memphis Studio and Ardent Recording Studio in Memphis for Warner Brothers, it’s thick, greasy, and sticky, a potent blend of country, R&B, and down home blues, with the leering White serving as a sly, funky narrator. He was already a proven hit maker by that point, with singles like “Polk Salad Annie” and “Rainy Night in Georgia”  – recorded by Elvis and Brook Benton, respectively — under his belt buckle, but songs like “Black Panther Swamps” smoke with a loose abandon that defines White’s unique approach. Credit that “whomper stomper” guitar, I suppose. He’s still at it, too – last year Yep Roc released Hoodoo, a terrific document of White’s weathered, booming voice. Still an outlaw, still digging in deep. Happy birthday, Swamp Fox. words / j woodbury

Tony Joe White :: Black Panther Swamps

COTTON-jones

The reissue of Cotton Jones’ 2009  Rio Ranger EP includes the previously unheard “Marula” – a breezy, cantina waltz. The track, which can be streamed here, finds frontman Michael Nau singing and scatting amongst hazy, mercury vibes, which include trumpet, mandolin, and strange, shapeless backing chants. It is yet another example of the band’s singularly enchanting brand of cosmic Americana.

Another such hidden gem, of sorts, is the band’s unreleased “Wax Hand Asleep In A Glove.” Having appeared several years ago via Nau’s personal SoundCloud page, the track is a languid, dimly-lit, front porch meditation, and thus fits perfectly between the humid, lo-fi psychedelia of 2009′s Paranoid Cocoon and the cosmic grace of 2010′s Tall Hours in the Glowstream.

The first minute and a half of the song are instrumental, beginning with a strikingly reverberating chord of guitar, piano and drums, all in unison – an opening note both declarative and enigma. Swaying aside one another, everything slowly finds its footing. 90 seconds in and it is Whitney McGraw’s, not Nau’s, voice that is heard. Here, McGraw floats across a heavy bed of bass and reverb, which drowns out the piano to a hauntingly low echo, while a timpani drum is tapped as Nau’s whistle ebbs in and out before he eventually, but only ever so briefly, joins McGraw on vocals.

A little past the song’s halfway mark, McGraw breaks into a murky and obscured vocal bridge that might be one of the band’s finest melodic moments. At five minutes in, the music slowly begins to come apart, with the guitar, piano and timpani approaching a mysterious climax. And then, all at once, the band explodes into an incredibly psychedelic folk jam – a musical moment unlike any in the band’s canon. “I found a lot of bitter love in my heart/ain’t gonna take it from me,” sing Nau and McGraw, fading out on that unexpected sentiment, making the waters all the more cloudy and mesmerizing. words / c depasquale

Cotton Jones :: Wax Hand Asleep In A Glove

jukin

Ease back. The following is a journey through the rich musical culture of the American South – from Louisiana jazz and gospel to R&B, folk and blues forging a path from Mississippi to North Carolina.

I’m Gonna Live Anyhow Until I Die :: A Medley

Percy Mayfield – Louisiana
Mahalia Jackson – Abraham, Martin and John
Sidney Bechet – Basin Street Blues
Solomon Burke – Meet Me In Church
The Soul Stirrers – That’s Heaven To Me
The Five Royales – Women About To Make Me Go Crazy
The Climates – No You For Me
Traditional – Steal Away
Brother James Anderson – I’m Tired, My Soul Needs Resting
E.C. Ball & Lacey Richardson – Tribulations
John Fahey – Lord Have Mercy
Emma Hammond – Shout Lula
Hobart Smith – The Devil’s Dream
Mississippi John Hurt – Since I’ve Laid My Burden Down
Canray Fontenot – Les Plats Sont Tous Mis Sur La Table
Michael Hurley – Jole’ Blon
United Sacred Harp Convention – The Last Words of Copernicus

Previously: Fais Do-Do: Volume 1 & Volume 2 // Maison Dufrene – A Mixtape

nina

Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” is a strange, haunting thing. Largely carried by Cohen’s monotone, yet slightly lilting voice and sparse guitar accompaniment, the song evokes a dark, ambiguous feeling. The angelic backing vocals and seraphic strings that periodically emerge give the song a heavenly relief – a bittersweet release of giving yourself into a formless and transient love. A joy you know is fleeting.

Nina Simone :: Suzanne

What makes Nina Simone’s rendition so interesting is her arrangement’s total embrace of the beauty of this strange affair. Light and floating — with the piano, drums, guitar and Nina’s free-flowing vocals all working in perfect unison to give the song a brightness and buoyancy. It’s a spirited and optimistic rendition, all while adding further mystique, and allure, to Cohen’s words.

“And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
She gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you’ve always been her lover”

A mysterious song about a mysterious lover, “Suzanne” evokes the kind of romance that you do not, and cannot, fully understand, yet one you allow yourself be taken away by, no matter how temporary, or sorrowful. It is Simone’s alternate version, found on the 2012 reissue of her 1969 lp To Love Somebody, that fully embodies this sentiment. Here, the arrangement is sparse: some cloudy, fluttering piano, a subtle, metronomic drumbeat, and a meandering, noodling groove. Simone sings slower and, more importantly, deeper. She’s not approaching the subject so freely and brightly in this performance.

Nina Simone :: Suzanne (alternate version)

betty1_1846794c

Betty LaVette has been a powerful force in soul music for over fifty years since her 1962 debut recording which was cut when she was 15 years old. Betty was born in the small town of Muskegon, MI, and grew up in Detroit, which is where she was discovered by Motown raconteur Johnnie Mae Matthews. As someone who has been known mostly to soul aficionados, her recent resurgence in popularity and activity is inspiring, and her old records are legacy that will live on forever.

Bettye LaVette :: My Man He’s A Lovin’ Man

This remarkable debut of Betty Lavett (later La Vette) began the glorious career of a remarkable vocalist. Co-writer of the track is Detroit’s “Mother Funker’ (in the words of George Clinton) Johnnie Mae Matthews; another incredible figure. Matthews was the first black woman to own a record label, and was also a mentor to Berry Gordy.

betty

Bettye LaVette :: I Feel Good (All Over)
Bettye LaVette :: Only Your Love Can Save Me

By 1965 (the year this record was released), Ms. LaVette had relocated to New York City, which is where this record (and other classics such as ‘Let Me Down Easy”) were cut. This double sided masterpiece is the type of record that could easily be used to demonstrate what soul music is for someone who isn’t already converted, such is its majesty and power. “I Feel Good (“All Over) is an intense, pounding and swirling number and ‘Only Your Love” is a gorgeous and dreamy mid tempo number. Betty reaches a certain peak as a vocalist across both sides. An absolutely perfect single.

Bettye LaVette :: Stand Up Like A Man

This record may be one of Betty’s lesser known tracks, it’s oozing her majestic vocal power (she’s all of 19 years old here), and the song has some unusual chord changes, and the band swings so hard it HURTS.

(Derek See is a Bay area based musician who plays guitar with The Bang Girl Group Revue, Joel Gion & Primary Colours, and occasionally makes records on his own with The Gentle Cycle.)